Sedro-Woolley is probably the last team Mount Baker wanted to face to open its season. Even more so when that season opener was also the first time 20 Mountaineers would start a high school football game.
So when the Cubs came out and put up 26 points in the first half on their way to a 35-7 on Friday night, Sept. 5, it wasn’t all that shocking.
What was shocking was that the 1A state runner-ups only collected 10 yards in the first half compared to 190 for Sedro-Woolley (1-0, NWC 1-0). Much of the success has to be credited to the Cubs defense, which showed off its size, speed and power with hits that would have echoed if made in a stadium and not on a grass field in the middle of nowhere.
But it wasn’t ever just one or two guys laying the boom on whatever Mountaineer was unlucky enough to get his number called, it was often three or four Cubs piling on. It was textbook defense — flock to the ball and tackle through the runner.
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“They’re a big 2A school and they’re mean like us,” Mount Baker QB Balyn Jacoby said. “We just need to do our job. Everyone is trying to work too hard. You just need to do your part.”
Although, some of the success Sedro-Woolley had was more due to the inexperience of Mount Baker (0-1, NWC 0-1). Ron Lepper will be the first to admit his offensive line didn’t play up to par.
“We made (Sedro-Woolley defensive lineman Chad Wilburg) look like an All-American because we didn’t block him half the time,” Lepper said. “We have some things we got to clean up but that’s just communication with some young guys.”
With the offense in turmoil, the Mountaineers defense was in a tough position — hold a very tough Cubs run offense out of the end zone. Oh and by the way, you have to do it starting in your own half of the field.
On the Cubs first four drives — all resulting in TDs — they started on Baker’s 35-yard line, their own 35-yard line, Baker’s 29-yard line and Baker’s 41-yard line. When a team has its back pinned against the wall so often in a half, things are not going to go well, especially against a team as well-equipped as Sedro-Woolley.
The Cubs used a very Baker-like offense — run, run and run — to move the ball. It was Quinn Carpenter who got three carries on the first drive, ending with a seven-yard TD run five minutes into the game.
It was Carpenter, who finished the game with 96 yards on 11 carries, again on drive No. 2, as he picked up 20 yard on two carries before Devin Willard found Mason Elms in the back of the end zone on a 35-yard over-the-shoulder passing touchdown to make it 12-0 just seconds into the second quarter.
Carter Crosby got in on the action for the Cubs when he capped off a four-play drive with a 19-yard TD run.
To cap things off, Willard and Elms connected again before the end of the half — this time for eight yards to make it 26-0.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Baker coach Ron Lepper said. “They had a good year last year and had a lot of guys coming back. We just didn’t play like we were capable.”
Things started to turn around for Baker before the end of the first half though. The Mountaineers strung together a 10-play drive that ended with a punt but it was the longest Baker drive of the night.
Mount Baker then forced a turnover on downs with 13 seconds left in the half when they stuffed Carter Crosby on fourth-and-6.
The second half started much the same way as the first. Sedro-Woolley went on a eight-play, three-minute drive that ended with a Quinten Roppel 10-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 32-0. The drive only featured one passing play, a 10-yard connection between Willard and Anthony Cann.
Baker’s defense didn’t allow any more touchdowns as Sedro-Woolley’s second string came into play.
Mount Baker, not wanting to be shut out for the first time since 2011, added a TD with 6:17 left in the fourth quarter when Jacoby saw Ruvim Tikhonov wide open after faking the inside run. Tikhonov would catch the deep throw and run it in for a 64-yard play.
Baker faces Orcas Island on Saturday, Sept. 13, on the road. Sedro-Woolley plays Mount Vernon on Friday, Sept. 12, at home.
S-W — Quinn Carpenter 7 run (pass fail)
S-W — Mason Elms 35 pass from Devin Willard (pass fail)
S-W – Carter Crosby 19 run (Adrian Vazquez kick)
S-W – Elms 8 pass from Willard (Vazquez kick)
S-W — Quinten Roppel 10 run (kick fail)
SW — Vazquez 30 FG
MB – Ruvim Tikhonov 64 pass from Balyn Jacoby (Zane Smith kick)
RUSHING — Sedro-Woolley: Quinn Carpenter 11-96, Durell Dickerson 3-2, Quinten Roppel 5-29, Jay Burger 2-(-2), Damian McDougle 4-18, Carter Crosby 5-50, Devin Willard 2-(-4), Austin Edson 4-5, Carter Needham 1-0. Mount Baker: Zach Yurchuk 6-13, Jed Schleimer 11-8, Balyn Jacoby 9-4, Thomas Barbo 2-9, Vadim Kotsyuba 1-20, Johnny Mata 1-(-1).
PASSING — Sedro-Woolley: Devin Willard 9-12-0-91, Carter Crosby 1-4-0-10, Carter Needham 0-1-0-0. Mount Baker: Balyn Jacoby 4-11-1-74, Brandon Breitenstein 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — Sedro-Woolley: Anthony Cann 2-20, Jacob Farrell 1-6, Mason Elms 3-45, Billy Hornbeck 2-20, Bryer Johnson 1-0, Bryce Hornbeck 1-10. Mount Baker: Johnny Mata 2-10, Jed Schleimer 1-(-1), Ruvim Tikhonov 1-64.